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Turn & Learn - Dual Purpose Seminar Room - Aberystwyth University © Photo Courtesy of Nigel Thomas
Using the floor or different heights of surface for each pair, the room is raked so that each pair of tables are a little higher than those in front.  When all students face the front for didactic delivery of information, the raked effect provides good sight lines to any projected information.    When students are directed to work in teams, the 3 students sat at the thinner tables turn their seats around and join the students sat directly behind them.    The comfy, fully adjustable task chairs have castors, whilst the tables are fixed to the floor to maintain the room’s integrity and to ensure that the tutor can access all tables to support students when working in teams.  With the correct technology, facilities and management, there is no reason why Turn and Learn rooms cannot be accessed by students as social spaces to continue group work learning outside of formal teaching hours. Nigel Thomas -  Learning Spaces Design and Development  Manager - has created a number of rooms featuring TOP-TEC’s Turn and Learn tables, enabling a mix of both tutor-led instruction and active team work to take place.   Having seen attempts to create dual purpose learning spaces where people had the luxury of starting their design in conjunction with a new build, Nigel recognised the opportunity to innovate for existing spaces that weren’t fulfilling their potential as one-dimensional didactic rooms.  Here’s how it works. In ‘Turn and Learn’ rooms work surfaces are arranged in pairs from the front to the rear.  The first of each pair is a thinner 350mm deep surface, comfortably wide enough for 3 students.  The next 3 students using the surface directly behind have an 800mm wide surface.
Evolution of environments for active learning and collaborative meetings

At the University of Aberystwyth ......

©  Photographs Courtesy of Nigel Thomas